Saturday, June 6, 2009

Pop-up Princesses and a Rambling Foreword

One of the drawbacks of giving DIY manuals to children 
is them wanting to make the stuff in them. All well and good, 
if your children are independent 8-year olds who are safe 
around scissors and glue tubes. Emily is good with scissors 
and glue but her enthusiastic sidekicks (Jenna and Kate) 
aren't yet. Craft time nowadays is a sort of race to finish 
a haphazard project before Kate can grab all the sharp 
and sticky things and eat them. We sneak in crafting when 
Kate naps and the older two don't, but that does 
not happen as often as we'd like.

I found this book on the cheap shelf at Barnes and Noble. 
I thought I'd give it to Emily for a Big Sister gift when Kate 
was born. 14 months later, I found it in a closet wrapped 
but unbestowed, so I sprang it on her earlier this week 
to make up for my tardiness.  

Wonderfully, she retired to a quiet corner to absorb its 
contents, then dragged Jenna to the craft station in their 
basement playroom to try out some of the ideas. 
Yes! Without mama! 
She made a little tiara for Kate's next birthday 
and declared the book "great".

Today at naptime, she asked to make some of the 
other things in it with me.  So we picked these pop-up 
princesses and Emily and Jenna each made 
one in their favorite color.

These cheeky little misses hide in their castle tower 
paper cups and spring out when you push the dowels up

like so.

Kate had to be stopped from sucking on marker nibs, 
eating foam stickies and stick-on gems and autographing 
the Princess Craft Manual while we were making this. 
A lot of shouting. Very exciting crafting experience. 
All that to say that I didn't think adding a camera to 
the circus was a good idea. So no tutorial - you'll all have 
to imagine there are photos to go along with 
these sketchy instructions following.

What you need:
  • 1 paper cup
  • 1 sturdy straw or short dowel
  • Short piece of chenille/pipe cleaner
  • Random fabric scraps for the dress
  • Random cardstock or construction paper or foam for the face and battlements
  • Craft glue
How to:
  1. Poke a hole in the bottom of the cup for the straw/dowel.
  2. Cut a 1" circle of card/paper/craft foam for the face. Embellish with hair, eyes, nose, mouth, crown etc.
  3. Stick the face on one end of the straw/dowel. 
  4. Cut a cone-shaped piece of fabric wide enough to go around the rim of the paper cup.
  5. Glue the curved edge of the cone around the rim of the papercup. Overlap the straight edges of the cone and glue shut. Don't forget to leave a little hole at the top of the cone to insert the straw/dowel!
  6. Insert the straw/dowel from the top of the cone and ensure the other end of the straw/dowel emerges through the hole in the base of the cup. Glue the top end of the fabric cone at the base of the face, pressing the fabric against the straw/dowel to ensure it adheres.
  7. Add extra layers of fabric if you want.
  8. Wind the pipe-cleaner around the "waist" of the princess and twist behind her back to secure. Pull the ends out to the sides to form her arms.
  9. Cut battlements and stick them on the rim of the paper cup, covering the mess you made (if you are anything like me) gluing the fabric onto the rim earlier.
  10. Decorate the castle/cup.
  11. Push the dowel up and play peekaboo with your princess!


  1. oh my gosh, these are the cutest! i think i may have to get my older daughter this book.

  2. These are really cute!

    I have a bunch of crafts that are best done while Johnny is napping, but it's hard to make that work. The hardest is when he wakes up mid-craft and is convinced that he can wield scissors, etc every bit as well as his big sister (who isn't exactly a scissors expert herself...)

  3. I just find your fantastic blog, this idea is so great! I also have a little Katie ( 1 year old) and I also have such problems with eating and sucking different craft materials. So our crafting time decresed radically in the last times.. :D

    But maybe... I'll try this project with my elder daugther.. She's love it! :D

  4. Wow... you make my day.. my girl is turning 3 and wanted a princesse party.. so.. now I have the perfect gift for it! thanks!

  5. This is the cutest idea! We made do with what we had and the princess turned out cute - and my daughter has been enjoying playing with it! Thanks for the great idea! I linked to your site from mine:

  6. You are a genius! Nothing more to say, your daughters are very very fortunate. Now, hopefully so will mine be! Thank you!!

  7. You are a genius! Your daughters are very very fortunate! Now hopefully so will mine be too. Thank you!

  8. Those are so cute! I nanny for a set of twin girls that are almost 5 and they will love making these. Thanks for sharing!


Thank you for talking to me! If you have a question, I might reply to it here in the comments or in an email.